NREL Postdoctorate - Chemical/Mechanical Engineering for Thermal-Fluid Modeling in Golden, Colorado

Posting Title

Postdoctorate - Chemical/Mechanical Engineering for Thermal-Fluid Modeling



CO - Golden


Position Type

Postdoc (Fixed Term)


Hours Per Week



Job Summary

A post-doctorate position is available in the Thermal Sciences Group of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) Electricity. NREL is the nation's primary laboratory for research, development and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. This position will support research and development conducted at NREL. The postdoctoral researcher will develop and apply computational tools, such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD), Finite Element Analysis (FEA), and MatLab, using commercial or open-source codes, for multiphase flow component analyses in a long duration energy storage (LDES) system as part of the U.S. Department of Energy ARPA-E’s DAYS Program. The researcher will turn scientific findings into efficient, functioning technology based on expert engineering knowledge and practical application abilities in their discipline or field expertise, and participate in publication and commercialization of results.

Type of employee

Post-doctorate – Thermal System Analysis and Design

General Duties and Responsibilities

Job duties include designing, modeling, and experiments to validate the computer-based models, and multiphase flow and heat transfer experiments. The job duties also include contributing to the design analyses, the conduct of experiments to verify the modeling results. This involves design and analysis of critical components for an LDES system, experimentation and data analysis to enable quantitative flow field determination in configurations with both granular media and gas/solid two-phase flows. The researcher is expected to document work/results in reports, presentations, conferences, archival journal papers, as well as to interact with NREL partners in industry, academia, and national laboratories.

Specific Duties and Responsibilities

  • Develop engineering models, component design and optimization for thermal energy storage, granular flow and particle fluidization, fluidized bed, and combined-cycle power generation.

  • Develop research prototypes, perform test and data analysis, and validate modeling results and designs with experimental results.

  • Work closely with NREL staff and other stakeholders to assist in the component design, analysis, development, and validation of energy-storage technologies by modeling and experiment.

  • Determine the most efficient materials, equipment, operations, and processes with techno-economic analysis. Lead the system optimization for future pilot plant and product introduction.

  • Assist in project management including report writings, paper publications, and presentations in program review or conferences.

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Expertise and specialization in the area of heat transfer and multiphase flow (primarily granular flow and gas/solid two-phase) with emphasis on numerical modeling and experience in experimental techniques. Experience working with CFD software such as Fluent or CFX, as well as parallel processing/computations. Demonstrated research capability and initiative to solve challenging problems. Creativity, adaptability, motivation, independence, as well as the ability of working well in a team. Good interpersonal, communication, writing and documentation skills.

  • Expertise with computational engineering tools for heat transfer, fluid dynamics, and mechanics analyses. Familiar with software uses of ANSYS Fluent or CFX, CAD/CAE software such as Solidworks and ANSYS Mechanical.

  • Knowledge in granular media and flow, gas/solid two-phase flow, and fluidization.

  • Coursework or experience in thermodynamics, chemical process, and energy system modeling, and ability to formulate and conduct engineering analysis, implement standard engineering techniques, and develop new technical approaches when necessary.

  • Experimental skills of instrumentation, design of experiment, testing uncertainty analysis, and LabView programming are useful.

  • Understanding of energy storage and concentrating solar power technologies including the ability to perform techno-economic analysis.

Additional Qualifications

The researcher has the opportunity to involve in in-depth and multifaceted disciplines in mechanical, chemical and solar energy engineering, from fundamental research to prototype product development. Candidate needs to have the strong aptitude to learn and explore the field needed for development, to be motivated and dedicated, and to deliver research results on time and on budget.

  • Capable of computer programming with software tools such as C, C++, Python, Microsoft Visual Studio, and Matlab.

  • Knowledge and experience on the following analysis tools will be helpful: COMSOL, MFIX code, Modelica, EES, or ASPEN software.

  • Experience and knowledge of component and system designs, fluid and solid mechanics analysis, and properties of materials are needed.

  • Ability to display strong interpersonal skills, think creatively to find innovative solutions, and communicate effectively in excellent oral and writing proficiency in English.

  • We would not expect a candidate holding all the skills listed above, but illustrate the opportunity for learning and professional growth potential.

  • We are looking for a motivated, quick learning, and self-starting Ph.D. graduate joining the team to develop next-generation renewable-energy technology.


Required Education, Experience, and Skills

Must be a recent PhD graduate within the last three years. Ph.D. degree in chemical or mechanical engineering, or relevant technical disciplines, with 3.0 GPA or higher.


Preferred Qualifications



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